Email marketers keep asking themselves this question: what’s the best time to send an email? There are some helpful general answers. In fact, we did research and published an infographic about it. But here’s the best answer. It depends: on your subscribers, your niche, and other factors. If you think this is bad news, think again. It’s great news — and the news just got better.
The perfect time to send email
Newsletter timing is an individual thing for each subscriber. People check their email at different times, on various devices, and while doing different things. Some of them check their inbox on their phone before they get out of bed (I used to be one of them — that is, when I had no kids.) Some check on their computer after they get to the office. Some most often engage with their emails in the evening, when their kids go to sleep. Et cetera, et cetera.
One thing is certain. We all have habits and daily routines — and we usually stick to them. But we’re also very different from each other. So it’s a challenge to take all these differences into account when sending emails to a large group of people and cater to the various habits of your subscribers. But not surprisingly, if you could do that, your results could dramatically improve.
And now you can. The key is:
Send time optimization
In recent months at GetResponse, we’ve done another research project to find out how the right timing can change reader engagement in email campaigns.
What we found out is what we expected. If you can track the times when your individual subscribers interact with your emails and then optimize the time you send newsletters, you can get better engagement and ultimately improve your results.
We’ve seen this happen with emails sent by our customers who were testing our latest feature — Perfect Timing. (More about it in a second.)
Here’s what we found. Our beta testers were able to optimize the send time of each individual email, so each subscriber would receive it in the exact time window when they were most likely to interact with email. We’ve seen email median unique open rates improve by 23% and click rates by 20%.*
* The average increase in median unique click and open rates, for emails sent with the Perfect Timing feature. GetResponse comparative study, July 2015
How does it work?
In essence, Perfect Timing is intelligent send-time optimization at the subscriber level. It uses billions of pieces of data to build a profile of every subscriber in our system — a profile that includes the time window when they open and click most often.
In other words, we know what time of day each of your subscribers has interacted with your emails in the past. Using this past-performance data, we can predict when they will open and click your links in the future — and send your email to each subscriber at exactly that time.
The GetResponse system will wait from 0 to 23 hours before delivering your email to each individual subscriber to make sure the delivery occurs exactly during that “perfect timing” slot for every person on your list.
Sue interacts with her email mostly in the evening. GetResponse has calculated Sue’s Perfect Time window to be between 7 PM and 8 PM. The system predicts that’s when she’s most likely to open emails and click links.
With Perfect Timing off, you might send her an email at 9 AM, and Sue’s mailbox would be buried in 10 hours of emails by the time she checks it at 7 PM. Or you could send her an email at 11 PM when she’s already in zzz mode.
With Perfect Timing turned on, GetResponse will deliver email to Sue between 7 PM and 8 PM, dramatically increasing the chances that she will open your email, read it, and click through.
Let’s say you have three subscribers:
- John, with Perfect Timing 9-10 AM
- Mike, with Perfect Timing 2-3 PM
- Sue, with Perfect Timing 7-8 PM
So you send a newsletter at 9 AM with Perfect Timing turned on.
- John is emailed immediately because 9 AM is his “perfect timing” slot.
- Mike’s email is delayed 5 hours to hit his “sweet spot” at 2 PM.
- Sue’s email is delayed 10 hours, so she receives it between 7 and 8 PM.
Finding your perfect timing
Send time optimization is the next step in personalizing your email communication. What’s great about it is that it takes no effort. It’s based on intelligent technology that learns from your subscribers’ activity over time. You simply switch it on.
And the results are promising.
The results I’ve cited in this post come from a group of GetResponse customers (around 5,000) who had early access to the Perfect Timing feature. Now we’re rolling it out to everyone. We’ll continue to track the results and publish a more robust report as we accumulate more data. And in the meantime, we encourage you to try it for yourself and see how it works for your subscribers.
Feel free to share your findings here!